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tv   Mc Laughlin Group  PBS  December 21, 2014 4:00pm-4:31pm PST

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. ♪ from washington, the mclaughlin group, the american original. for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. issue one, cuba libra. >> today, the united states of america is changing its relationships with the people of cuba. and the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years, we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead, we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. it was a blockbuster announcement from president obama. after 53 years of mutual rancor and estrangement, the u.s. and cuba are now openly and officially paving the way for
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full diplomatic relations. that means top government officials from both countries are now talking directly to each other, as president obama did for 45 minutes on tuesday, with cuban president raul castro. it means the u.s. and cuba will open embassies in each other's capital. restrictions will be eased. and where other cooperation is possible in the areas of migration, narcotics, environmental protection, and human trafficking, the u.s. will work with cuba. and although the u.s. embargo on cuba will remain in place, the u.s. imposed it in 1960 after communist took power, president obama wants to work with congress on a quote, unquote, serious debate about lifting the embargo. this seismic shift towards cuba came after several u.s.-cuban confidence-building measures negotiated with the help of canada and urged by pope
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francis. these included the release on humanitarian grounds of american prisoner alan gross. mr. gross, a u.s. agency for international development subcontractor, was arrested in cuba in 2009 and convicted for seeking to establish secret access through the internet for cuban jews. gross was visibly happy wednesday. back on u.s. soil, hours before the obama announcement. >> thank you, president obama, for everything that you have done today and leading up to today. question, president obama says the reason he's changing the policy of isolating cuba is that it has had, quote, unquote, little effect. is that true? >> it's not true. the isolation of cube -- break and bank the soviet union, but i will say this.
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ive think the president did a good deal on the prisoner exchange. he gave away too much on the details. russians don't buy their sugar anymore, don't get the oil, not going to get it is from venezuela. they are in desperate straits. raul's coming to us. i will say this. he's going to get investment, might get tourist dollars and the rest of it, but he is taking a tremendous risk, when you get tens of thousands of tourists, travelers, american visitors, cuban americans folks coming out of cuba, 'a real risk with the survival of his dictatorship and police state down the road. >> eleanor? >> yes, that's exactly the point. cuba cannot continue with the oppressive regime it's had once the country begins to open up and lots of people and ideas and investment come flooding in. the castro brothers have been in power through many american
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presidents. jimmy carter established and intersection in the '70s. bill clinton tried to make some overtures. president obama did the bold thing, the right thing, the historic thing, and you know, i think it's right for the cuban people, it's right for the world and ends a policy that's been such an aknack rimple. >> should he have done this without consulting congress beforehand? here's the reason. the following statutes may have been broken by president obama. the cuban democratic solidarity act of 1992, '96. trading with the enemy act and the helms burton act that states that all political prisoners must be released and free fair elections held before resuming diplomatic relations. end of quote. i don't want to be too precise about it, but should he have gone to congress first and solved this problem? >> not necessarily.
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i think the real issue here is that the president has given away a lot. i think i agree with pat and eleanor that there was opportunity to have change there. clearly, along the road at this point, the embargo is not having the effect that the people who are probably suffering most are the cuban people. but what i would have preferred to see from the president is a series of smaller steps that working in concert with congress, bring them on board, giving the embassy immediately, i think loses some of the power that the united states could have in the progressive sense of doing economic development and then saying if you concede, mr. castro, in terms of opening up cuba and releasing some of those political prisoners, then we'll get to that step. giving it all at once is bad because it loses that influential power and sent a bad message to the rest of the world, places like iran that actually you can get a lot of concessions and not a lot in return. >> was it smart politics? obama is trying to goad the new
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republican congress into fighting him, hoping it throws off costs legs laightively. this was a calculated move to create political rancor. >> well, i suppose among some members of the republican party, there will be political rancor. i don't think that's in any way why the president was doing that. i think that's just an absolutely incorrect interpretation, and i'll go back to the reference to russia, so i'm going to quote something that fidel castro said to me. he said we have excellent relations. i asked about his relationship with russia. he says we have excellent relations. we have practical -- because we have practically none. he says, i'm quoting him now, it's like a boyfriend that you break up with, you have no more problems. that's exactly the way he put it. >> well, you know, the critics say that castro regime was collapsing and why didn't we just let them collapse? it's not in the u.s. interest to have that regime go down and turn into a chaotic situation. i read somewhere, we would end
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up with an 800-mile air strip for narco dealers. nobody is quite sure what happens next, but this certainly opens up the opportunity for more small democratic principles to come into play. >> china, nixon went to china and mau continued with the culture of the chinese revolution. the chinese tried to open up, brought in the investment, the capital, all the manufacturing and everything and tried to maintain a police state dictatorship and they have maintained their dictatorship very, very well. this is what the castro brothers are going to try to do. it's a very tough thing to do, and they are, of course, much smaller and much closer. >> and the rest of us are going to be rushing to get to cuba before it turns into miami beach, while it's still that unspoiled, seemingly place-- >> castro is an unspoiled wonderful paradise? >> the classic cars from the
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1950s and '60s. >> toilet paper shortages. >> the cars i'll go with. >> people want to see cuba as it is before it becomes more developed. let's hear from some of the objectors to this, notably marco rubio. >> president obama's moves to open full diplomatic relations with cuba have incurred the wrath of some members of congress. florida republican senator marco rubio, who is cuban- american, being one of them. >> today, by conceding to the oppress sores, this president and this administration have let the people of cuba down. >> democrat bob menendez of new jersey, the son of cuban immigrants, thinks this. >> i think it stinks. i think it's wrong. i'm deeply disappointed in the president. question. what's the track record when diplomatic and trade relations are restored to a regime, does it really lead to democratic change, pat? >> certainly, john, as i
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mentionedded with china, it eventually did. i mean, you got some change in china, not a great deal. with stalin, usually the main big man has got to die. stalin and mau, then you do get change. i do think integration with eastern europe during the cold war, which nixon did, going to romania, reagan and those, they did, that undermined those corrupt, communist governments and eventually led to bringing them down. >> i appreciate the perspective of people like marco rubio and senator menendez. they have had -- their families had property taken from them. they have a very personal experience. but they are battling history on this one. and you can't keep an iron clamp over this island nation. we were the only country supporting this embargo. it wasn't helping the united states. certainly wasn't helping the cuban people. >> well, president obama certainly changed the subject, didn't he? how many times have you met with castro? >> i've met with him about seven or eight times. and on many, many occasions through an entire dinner. >> how far back does it go?
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>> it goes back over 20 years. >> well, how are you impressed by the man? >> i, i tell you that i found him to be an absolutely fascinating man, an extraordinary personality. he was wonderful to see the way he interacted with the people. he is the most dynamic speaker i have ever witnessed in my entire life. and i -- by the way, i have to confess this. he was speaking in spanish and i don't speak a word in spanish. but the way he connected with his audience was like nothing i've ever seen. >> i attended a dinner party here at your home and he was there. >> that's right. >> the subject became somewhat theological and i asked him about the life hereafter and he spoke knowledgeably, drew a laugh from the audience. before we leave castro go, i want to point out that one person -- two people who have been working on this whole situation for a long time, hillary clinton and barack
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obama. i'm quoting from her book now. in the, in the face of a stone wall from the regime in havana, president obama and i proceeded to engage the cuban people rather than the government, based on lessons learned all over the world. we believe that the best way to bring change to cuba would be to expose its people to the values, information and material comforts of the outside world. let me get to another place where she-- >> that's good thinking, john, but this is where i disagree with obama. he deliberately engaged the government. he didn't engage the people. >> um, well-- >> there are thousands of political prisoners suffering. >> the president and-- on friday released they had released 50-odd prisoners. they were calling for things to be done incrementally. you're not going to have change overnight. [ overlapping speakers ] >> it's going to happen on a period of time. >> what you're seeing on this set was simply something
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envisioned by hillary clinton. every step of the way we faced vocal opposition from members of congress who want to keep cuba in the deep freeze. this is the best way to encourage reform in cuba and profoundly in the interest of united states and the people of asia. >> okay, fine. everybody agrees we would like to see change, but john, do not forget, we are dealing with a pair of political criminals who created a prison-- >> let it go, pat. let it go. [ overlapping speakers ] >> let the prisoners go! >> thousands of people -- >> we deal with other oppressive regimes around the world. you cannot have everyone have jeffersonian ideals and practices as a prerequisite for having any dialogue with them. it's easy to talk to your friends. you have to talk to your enemies as well. >> a dictator and murderer as some kind of great hero-- >> we're trying to take a-- >> didn't you have a nice dinner with him?
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>> i did have a very nice dinner with him. i didn't -- that's the question. >> i didn't think, for example, he was on american television. what do you expect? this guy-- >> just realize what we're dealing with. that's what i expect. >> were you trained by the jesuits? >> yes. >> so was castro. >> it worked out not well with fidel. [ laughter ] second question, will president obama be the first sitting u.s. president to visit cuba since its revolution? yes or no? be careful of your answer, pat. >> not while raul's in power. if raul stays in power. >> the president said in miss press conference it wasn't in the cards, but he pointed out that he's still a relatively young man and he does expect to visit cuba at some point. he didn't, he didn't-- >> i'm going to tell you when. >> okay. >> i think he will visit, but i think it will be close to the end of his administration. >> you stole my thinking. >> after the election of 2016.
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>> he wants it to be a legacy project and he doesn't want to get the domestic backlash. >> a lot of it will depend on how the whole relationship evolves now that we're sort of being more constructive with each other. and if it continues to seem to go well, then i think there's a much better chance that he'll do it. certainly towards the end of his administration or immediately afterwards and i welcome it. >> he's going to do it during the lame duck administration of his administration of his presidency. >> i would say don't go. he's got a new president elected? you don't do that. >> why would a new president want to do that? >> i don't know, but he might want his own policy on cuba. the mclaughlin group has its own website and you can watch buchanan and this program or earlier programs on the web, if you can take it, any time, anywhere in the universe. even black holes! at the could anything be easier?
4:15 pm issue two, hollywood gets hacked. a movie is canceled and hollywood is reeling. sony pictures has canceled the christmas day opening of "the interview," a comedy about tv journalists who score an interview with northeastern leader kim jong-un and then are asked by the cia to assassinate him. >> the cia would love it if you could take him out. >> hmm? >> take him out. >> like for drinks? >> to dinner? >> take him out on the town? >> no, take him out. >> you want us to kill the leader of north korea? >> yes. >> what? sony decided to pull the plug on "the interview" after several major theater chains announced they would not show the film. hackers calling themselves the guardians of peace publicly threatened terrorists attacks against theaters that showed "the interview." the guardians of peace are
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believed by the government to be working for north korea and have caused immense damage to sony. in november, the guardians launched a massive cyber attack on sony computers. they stole thousands of confidential company documents and dumped it all on the internet for the world to see. the dump included sony employees' personal data and their social security numbers, as well as an early unreleased movie script of spectre, the latest in the james bond franchise. the dump also included sony executive e-mail exchanges that contained disparaging remarks about top hollywood stars, notably angelina jolie and leo dicaprio and derisive e-mails about president obama. sony pictures in a press release blasted the hackers. quote, those who attacked us stole our intellectual property. private e-mails and sensitive and proprietary materials and sought to destroy our spirit
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and our morale, all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. we stand by our film makers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome. unquote. >> president obama on friday said that sony, quote, made a mistake, unquote, by canceling the release of its film. question, did sony do the right thing in withholding the film? or did the studio create terroristic threats? >> i think they absolutely did the wrong thing. i think this is a real tragedy. but this studio, could they have corporate interests to protect people, but nothing as intrinsic as the right to free speech. and this disgusting regime, because that's what it is, hundreds of thousands of political prisoners left to starve to death, you read some of the counts in north korea, has been able to coercibly use cyber terrorism to scare a major american studio into preventing its artistic expression of free speech. >> sony is a japanese-based
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company. >> but it's an american picture. >> it's an attack on hollywood and i think the movie itself is a really dumb idea. i think-- >> that's not up to you though, is it? >> i think making a movie about the assassination of a sitting head of state goes over the line. >> there's no line. >> excuse me, please. but having said that, i think the cancellation of the movie sets a terrible precedent and we're in a world here of economic blackmail. we've seen, you know, attacks on target and various companies and, you know, we're dealing in a world where we don't know very much and the white house is really struggling to come up with a proportional-- >> john, i agree with eleanor to this extent. sony cratered, they did, indeed. but what a stupid thing. they are dealing with a north korean leader, who is a serious nut ball. what he did with his uncle, fed him to wild dogs. you're portraying it as an
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assassination of him. he takes it as an insult to him, like the ayatollah and the others took all those cartoons of mohammed with his head, a bomb and all the rest of it. it's a stupid thing to do, but i do agree that sony completely cratered on it. >> wait a minute. wait a minute. distributors all around the country, they yanked the film! sony had no choice! >> i can't blame the theater for not having -- they will be sued to beat the band if something happens in a theater when they brought all those people in. and they also consider the people that are in their theater as neighborhood folks. >> i must say, i have a different view of it. there is clearly the threat of violence if they showed this film. if anybody had been killed or badly hurt, it is not worth this. the fact is that you don't take the slightest chance of a catastrophic outcome. and this, showing this film in many, many different theaters, you would never be able to protect them if they sent in a half dozen people to create violence. so i think that is one thing
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that is absolutely, in my judgment, appropriate. >> will this open up hollywood to future imtimidation, mort? >> it's possible. it's possible. but you won't have something like north korea on the other side of the issue. >> activist groups, terrorists, they will all do it. >> hollywood's got responsibility, too. i mean, as i say, let's go back to the islamic world. you know, who was that-- >> danish cartoon? >> not just that. down in florida, that character made -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> wasn't responsible for benghazi, but he was for riots all over the middle east. people are getting killed. [ overlapping speakers ] >> you remember in denmark there was, there f there were cartoons of mohammed. >> they made the head of mohammed a bomb. >> right, hundreds died and subsequent rioting around the world and the paper's editorial staff were targeted by death for islamic activists. two publications today would dare violate the muslimy ticket on depicting mohammed. sony's decision to kill the film will have repercussions
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felt for many years ahead. >> but the threats against the movie-goers, the homeland security and the fbi all said they were not credible. the north koreans are full of lots of bluster, and so i think you, you shouldn't give into that. i think the president and his news conference, again, said this isn't how we want to be doing business. >> if mort were president of sony, would you have pulled it? >> i would have. i would not have taken that kind of a risk. >> would you have made it? >> i might have made the film. i just don't-- >> it's the very nature of our society. >> assassination of a foreign leader? >> i probably would not have made it, okay? i -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> -- should have been one of them. >> -- form of censorship arising from this event? >> i don't know -- it's self- censorship. >> all the producers and writers will exercise self- censorship -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> authoritarian regimes, political extremists and terrorists. sony eviscerates the quality of our films! >> no, we don't, john.
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>> there's political correctness in america. now they won't make all kinds of films that offend people. >> you're old school. >> look at the political correctness today. that's the main censorship in hollywood. issue three, slaughter in pakistan. the pakistan taliban this week attacked a school in the nation's northwestern city of pesmawar. the school educates the children of military personnel. the terrorists went room to room, shooting and executing children in their classrooms. two teachers, seven soldiers, and at least 132 students lost their lives. many more children were badly wounded. the taliban claims the attack is retaliation for pakistani army operations. pakistani politicians are outraged. the prime minister of pakistan sharif has called for a
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comprehensive campaign to rid the country of terrorists. malala yousafzai, the pakistani school girl and noble laureate, who the taliban previously attempted to murder said this. >> at this time i call upon the international community, leaders in pakistan, all political parties and everyone that we should stand up together and fight against terrorism and we should make sure that every child gets safe and quality education. >> with terrorists turning centers of learning into factories of death, this is seen as a critical moment for pakistan's future. for many years, elements of the pakistani government are known to have sheltered, supplied, and even directed certain terrorist groups. to use as powerful proxy tools against india and afghanistan. speaking to the bbc on wednesday, former pakistani president musharraf hinted that
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his nation would continue this strategy. >> so therefore, please, the tactics of handling situations, the difference comes in when you try dictating, micro management and the tactic alamo dates of handling the issue. that is where differences come in. that is where you feel that we are not really trustworthy and we also feel you are not trustworthy. question, in the wake of this atrocity, will pakistan's army finish off the taliban once and for all? before you answer that, will you tell us what he said? >> president musharraf? >> yes. >> i think what he is saying is the pakistani government is continuing, or will continue to judge its relationship with different actors, terrorist groups, in a way that doesn't always align with the united states. and so don't expect us to do what you want us to do on counterterrorism issues. but i don't think unfortunately that this is going to change, because quite frankly, the pakistani government, elements of the isi, the intelligence service, have for a long time
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judged it is more important to use terrorist proxies against places like india and afghanistan and the united states rather than protecting their people. >> who is responsible for the attack? >> pakistani taliban, and it shows the nature of these groups, this version of political islam blended with-- >> who heads up the pakistani tall lan. >> a guy called fazlullah, and he is disgusting. these are the people we are dealing with. >> the afghan taliban condemn the attack, as did other extremist groups, but it does call into question the pakistani military, which is essentially the government, tries to distinguish between good extremists and bad extremists, and that may not be a viable policy going forward, and i'll bet the u.s.-sponsored drone attacks, that go on with the tacid admission of the government will be increased. >> i got a question for you, will the united states play any role in the hunting down of
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pakistani taliban? >> well, the united states would probably use its drones, working with the government and the army. but let me say this. the army in their sweeps through north wazirastan, there's a lot of collateral damage of women and children and others in what happens there and what these taliban horror people are doing is saying you can kill our women and children. where going to show you that we're going to do the exact same thing to you. the purpose of terror, john, is to terrorize. >> general john campbell, who heads the coalition forces in afghanistan, you've heard of him, correct? >> yes. >> he is going to meet with the two pakistani generals an afghan president. u.s. forces will lend assistance to the effort to find and capture or kill the perpetrators. pakistan has the bomb. india has the bomb. >> the bomb seems almost kind of an abstract object that is likely not to be used where
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this ground-to-ground combat by terror groups is the order of the day and that terrorizes people on the ground a lot more than concept of a distant bomb that may never be used, hopefully will never be used. >> the president has announced the withdrawal of the troops from afghanistan. will this cure it? >> no. >> no, absolutely not. >> i don't know. interesting to see. >> what do you say? >> i don't think it will cure the problem at all. >> no, it will not. out of time. happy hanukkah! bye-bye!
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